AJ Truman is on our blog today, with info about
Behind Closed Doors
and a guest post about road-tripping
At Browerton University, a lot can happen behind closed doors.
Two frat brothers can reveal their true feelings. An honor student’s dark past can come to light. Ten hours in a car can turn strangers into lovers. And a coach can teach his star quarterback a very valuable lesson.
Catch up with some familiar Browerton students and meet new ones. Four stories. Four doors. Endless possibilities.
Door Number One: The Whitmore Room (Out in the Open prequel)
Door Number Two: Is There a Porn Star in my Class?
Door Number Three: Road Trip Cone of Silence
Door Number Four: Coach’s Revenge
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a collection of gay new adult romance stories filled with humor, heart, and hot guys. The book is intended for audiences 18+ as it contains explicit sex and language.
Get the book:
Excerpt from "Road Trip Cone Of Silence":
There was a chance Henry Linnehan was going to be murdered today. Chopped up into pieces and tossed out of a moving car onto the side of Route 80.
“Don’t be such a drama queen.”
“I’m being realistic,” his friend Ethan said. “How many stories have we heard about people who accept rides from strangers and then wind up dead?”
Henry wheeled his carry-on suitcase to the curb. The wheels crunched over browned, dead leaves sweeping across the walkway. “I don’t know,” he asked. “How many?”
“Just how many innocent people have been killed by deranged drivers? And keep in mind that we live in the real world, not a horror movie.”
Ethan stuttered for an answer. His mouth flapped open and shut a few times, but nothing came out. Henry sat on his suitcase, pleased with himself for stumping his friend.
“I’ll be fine.” Henry raised his eyebrows. He’d always had expressive eyebrows. Chase had told him he looked like Ian Somerhalder once. That had been a good day.
His chest got tight. Henry took a deep breath. He was looking forward to this trip.
“Have you met this guy yet? Exchanged phone numbers? Looked him up online?” Ethan hugged himself in the December cold.
“We exchanged a few emails. He seems normal.” Henry was used to dealing with high-strung actors, so he didn’t let his friend get to him. Even though he and Ethan had only just met at a Halloween party, they’d hit it off right away. At first, they’d bonded over their then-closeted boyfriends. But then Ethan’s boyfriend Greg came out, and Chase…
Another deep breath.
“It’s one day of driving. Ten hours.”
“Ten hours?” Ethan nearly spilled his hot chocolate. “I thought you had a round-trip flight back to Chicago already booked. Yet you just decided to spend a whole day driving with a complete stranger? One who could maybe possibly kill you? Wow, Henry. Have I ever told you that everything you do is just oozing with common sense?”
“At least three times a day.”
Yes, Henry knew this was strange. He always flew home for winter break. He and his parents had a routine down. Text them as soon as he lands. Wait outside Door 2 behind the taxi station. Catch his parents up, and vice versa, on the drive to this ‘50s diner on the highway where his dad would debate whether to get a slice of pie. (“Oh, it’s the holidays! Just do it, Dad!”)
Henry knew the routine and loved the routine, but something called out to him in the student union on Monday. He was making copies of audition flyers for the winter musical he was producing, and next to the Xerox machine was a bulletin board filled with ads. Looking to sell a car. Crew tryouts next week. Roommate wanted ASAP. It was a clutter of noise. Henry never posted anything up there. But that Monday, one ad caught his eye.
Need a lift to Chicago for Winter Break? I’ll drive. You chip in for gas.
He must’ve stared at the notice for a solid minute. He had this feeling about being in the right place and the right time. Something about it sounded cleansing. Henry emailed the guy that night and cancelled his flight. He had told himself that the ad called out to him, but maybe there was something inside him calling out to the ad.
It didn’t matter now. He was about to embark on a ten-hour road trip.
“The guy I’m driving with is a student. He said he’s an econ major.”
“Well, that makes everything better, doesn’t it?”
“You know what, Ethan? After the week I’ve had, yeah. It makes things a little bit better!” Henry breathed in and pushed his anger down. “I’m sorry.”
Ethan’s righteous indignation immediately dissipated. Henry could see his entire thought process running on his face, the realization hitting in real time. “I feel like a total idiot.”
“You’ve barely talked about it.”
“There’s not much to talk about.”
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine.” Henry mussed up his hair. “Really.”
“Have you spoken to Chase since he sent you that email? I can’t believe he broke up with you via email.”
“It’s not a break-up. It’s a break. No adverb. Huge difference.”
“I never liked him.”
“You never met him.”
Ethan rolled his eyes. “Don’t remind me.”
“Chase isn’t the antichrist, okay?”
“But to say this in an email? After all that you sacrificed for him and did for him?” Ethan gritted his teeth. Henry appreciated that he had a friend who cared this much. “I don’t know how you haven’t punched him in the face yet.”
“I’m giving Chase some distance.” Six hundred fifty miles of it.
Maybe we just need some time apart. Did he think I pressured him to come out? The doubts and theories swirled through Henry’s mind like a tornado, gaining strength and power and turning the sky within him dark.
“I’m fine.” Henry smacked a smile on his face. Because he was fine. He refused to be one of those people who wallowed in his misery. “I’ve never taken a road trip before. I’ve never been to Ohio or Indiana. It’ll be an adventure.”
“Well, I packed a condom and a sample packet of lube in your backpack as a subtle reminder that you are technically single, so feel free to have some fun this Christmas.”
Henry shook his head. “So you’re okay with me fucking a complete stranger, just not driving with one.”
A brand-new black Mercedes rolled down the street and stopped short at the curb. The polish sparkled in the morning sun, and the backseat looked untouched.
When the driver got out, Henry noted his height and muscular frame. He also noted the ratty hoodie and jeans he wore, a sharp contrast to such a sharp car.
“Hi! You must be Nolan.” Henry held out his hand for a shake. Nolan stepped around him, picked up his suitcase, and chucked it in the trunk. Then he returned to his driver seat.
“You’re Nolan, right?”
Ethan sidled up to Nolan’s window and knocked. After an extended moment, he rolled it down. “Hi, nice car you have.”
Nolan kept looking at Ethan. He blinked once.
“So, what route are you taking to Chicago? Do you think you’ll take 80 all the way? I think it’s pretty much a straight shot.”
Another too-long moment of silence. Nolan’s hands stayed on the steering wheel.
Road-tripping by AJ Truman
I’ve taken my fair share of road trips. Back and forth to school (14 hours each way). Once from Minnesota down to Texas. And once straight across the US of A. And that’s not even mentioning the small trips for weekends. Yes, while I hate to drive, there’s something adventurous about road trips.
“Road Trip Cone of Silence,” one of the stories in Behind Closed Doors, takes place over a day-long road trip between Henry (who you met in Out in the Open) and Nolan. They go from strangers to enemies to sorta friends to sorta more to...well, I won’t ruin the fun for you.
Summer is the time for road trips. Lots of sunlight. Warm weather. No snow to deal with. If you’re planning on taking a car trip, here are some Do’s and Don’t’s to keep in mind:
DO bring music. No matter if you’re perfect strangers or the best of friends, there will be lulls in conversation. At some point, you will just want to zone out and listen to music. You can’t always trust you’ll get radio reception. Make sure you have CD’s or an iPod or an app you can plug into the car’s stereo. Don’t use headphones. That’s just rude. Let the music fill in the silences. In college, on one of those 14 hour road trip, my friend brought his entire NOW collection. Whenever conversation waned, we took a trip down memory lane.
DON’T worry about eating healthy. I try to eat healthy most of the time, but not when I’m on a road trip. Your only food options will be fast food or gas station convenience store food. Avoid searching for the healthiest option on their menus. Don’t waste your time. It’s all unhealthy. Even Subway isn’t that healthy. You’re on a road trip. Suck it up, eat some McDonald’s. You can return to your normal eating habits once the trip is over. That being said...
DO pack fruit, veggies, and/or healthy car snacks. If your road trip lasts more than a day, consider packing some healthy snacks in your car. My road trip from Minnesota to Texas lasted 7 days, and during that time, the only thing I ate was fast food, hotel breakfasts, and nice(r) dinners out. Sounds great, right? Not quite. All that heavy food was messing with my body, giving me headaches. By day 5, I was CRAVING vegetables and fruit. Having some healthy, or less decadent, snacks in the car will offset the onslaught of rich food.
DON’T save pictures for sightseeing. You don’t want a photo album consisting of shots of only national monuments. A road trip is as much about the journey as the destination. In between snapping pics of the Grand Canyon or World’s Largest Ball of Twine, take pictures of having fun in the car or y’all at random rest stops. Chances are, those little moments will be more memorable than the typical “sightseeing” ones.
DO take advantage of rest stops. Even if you don’t have to go to the bathroom, pull over and do some stretches. You may worry about making good time, but taking 10 minutes to stretch and pee is worth it. The fresh air will give you an energy boost. And you never know when the next rest stop is.
All great tips! Thanks, AJ!
More about AJ Truman:
A.J. Truman remembers his college days like it was yesterday, even though it was definitely not yesterday. He writes books with humor, heart, and hot guys. What else does a story need? He loves spending time with his pets and his partner and writing on his sun porch. You can find him on Facebook or email him at ajtruman.writer [at] gmail [dot] com.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.